Hyde Park: The park is in the heart of London and home to the Serpentine lake, where it’s possible to enjoy a swim or a bit of rowing to exercise your muscles. The lake is also a good lap for runners. Hyde Park, first acquired by Henry VIII in 1536 as hunting grounds, also has national monuments like the Princess Diana Memorial and a Peter Pan statue. During the first lockdown hundreds of people found time to walk the park’s many paths. Charles I first opened it to the public in 1637. Getty Images
Green Park: The park is a stretch of grass sandwiched between Buckingham Palace and Mayfair. The rolling lawns are great for sitting back and doing nothing, but apart from a few paths and inspiring views it is less great for locked down exercises. The park was first recorded in 1554 when Sir Thomas Wyatt used it for his rebellion against Mary I. Getty Images
Regent's Park: Another world famous park that mixes relaxation and exercise in a world famous location.
At the lower entrance of the 197 hectare site are sports fields for anyone who needs to play. And at the top end of the park is Primrose Hill, with views across London for those that can make the trek up. The run down is far easier than the route up. It was a royal chase until 1646 when architect John Nash developed the site for the Prince Regent, who would become King George IV. Getty Images
People walking on Hanover Terrace, Regent's Park, London, circa 1850. Getty Images
Greenwich Park: The east of central London park is home to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich Mean Time and stunning views of Canary Wharf and the river. It is a step-back-in-time park with 17th century royal buildings. The run that becomes a walk that becomes a limp up the hill to the observatory is rewarding. Turn round, and you can see London through the ages and into the future. Pro tip arrive via Blackheath and avoid the crowds and the gradient. The land was inherited in 1427 by the Duke of Gloucester, brother of Henry V, and since then, generations of monarchs spent time in Greenwich, though not so much nowadays. Getty Images
Crowds enjoy the view in Greenwich Park in 1850. Getty Images
Hampstead Heath: the park has been providing inspiration for centuries and in a lockdown world it can help you escape too. CS Lewis was inspired to write the Chronicles of Narnia, John Constable used the park as his model, and John Keats wrote Ode to a Nightingale after a walk on the heath. Even now, you can find yourself feeling absolutely alone on the heath by walking just a few meters off the paths. The 325 hectare site exists safe from intrusion by industrialisation after a campaign in the 1800s to save the city’s lungs. Getty Images
A children's carousel at Hampstead Heath fairground in 1912. Getty Images
Holland Park: The park is right in the heart of Kensington with 22 hectares of gardens. For a bit of ‘only in London’ there’s a Japanese garden, a giant chess set and peacocks sharing a home. Elsewhere, there is space to escape the busy-ness of Notting Hill and Kensington. The park is in what used to be the grounds of Cope Castle, a large Jacobean mansion hidden in the woods, which was built by Sir Walter Cope in the early 17th century. Getty Images
Richmond Park: In the southwest, the park was a favourite of King Henry VIII. The 1,010 hectare site is home to ancient woods and stunning wildlife, and can be enjoyed on horseback or cycles.
From King Henry’s Mound, it is possible to see all the way back to St Paul’s. The park is also perfect for a bit of getting away from it all. The royal connections date back to Edward I who was crowned in 1272.
View of St Paul's Cathedral from King Henry's Mound, Richmond Park, in 1952. Getty Images
Battersea Park: The park is a little 80 hectare haven on the south bank. It includes riverside path and a small lake which is perfect for running in tree-covered running. The park is a stone’s throw from the disused Battersea Power Station and its famous towers, which are now regenerating life on this stretch of the river. It was built between 1854 and 1870. Getty Images
Two children on the bank of Battersea Park boating lake in south London, circa 1897. Getty Images
Clapham Common: The common has a bit of everything for everybody. From the bandstand, that in normal times still provides a stage for musicians to the wild fields further south. It has been attracting the curious since Samuel Pepys and Benjamin Franklin. The common is usually busier at the northern end. The common was first mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1086. It became parkland in 1878.
A speech is given in front of a small crowd at the Clapham Common Speakers' Corner, in 1985. Getty Images
St James's Park: A star of central London with a famous family living next door in Buckingham Palace. The 23 hectare park is home to all manner of wildlife including, most unexpectedly, puffins.
The park stretches from the palace to Trafalgar Square with a lake running down its middle. If you want man-made achievements, there’s Admiralty Arch. If you want nature’s joy, there’s a bird sanctuary. It is the oldest of the royal parks and another of Henry VIII’s hunting grounds. Getty Images
St James's Park, showing the lake and the Island Bird Sanctuary, in 1948. Getty Images
Brockwell Park Another south of the river hidden gem. It contains a lido, an ornamental pond, formal flower beds and a walled garden. Brockwell Hall was built between 1811-1813 and in 1891, the land was bought by London County Council and opened as a park. Getty Images
Bushey Park: South of Richmond Park and home to yet more deer. It has a Sir Christopher Wren designed avenue and woodland gardens. It was also called into service during World War 2 as a US air base. The land has been settled for 4,000 years but it was Charles I who put it on the royal map by commissioning a 27km river that was built by hand, to deliver water to Hampton Court Palace. Getty Images
People walk through Bushy Park in 1911. Getty Images